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The 349-room hotel in Haymarket, which will be managed under a franchise agreement with Hyatt, will also include a pioneering hotel school operated in partnership with Edinburgh College.
The hotel is expected to open in 2024 and is expected to create more than 200 jobs, while the hotel school will train up to 200 people each year.
A plenary council meeting approved the final business case for the authority to enter into a 25-year lease on the hotel, which will then be sublet to EICC Ltd, an arm’s length consultancy company, with the hotel profits used to fund investment in the conference center.
Council chief Adam McVey said the arrangement would allow the required investments to take place in the EICC, which was a major public asset of the city, without the council having to invest any money. that would otherwise go on roads and schools.
He said: “The project strengthens the offer of the EICC and offers a bright future as the conferences return to the city. The establishment of the Hotel School will support and benefit our hospitality and tourism sectors by creating employment and training opportunities for the local population who can then build a successful career in Edinburgh. “
But the Greens opposed the program, arguing that it did not match the council’s net zero carbon commitments in 2030 because it was based on a business model that relied on thousands of people traveling tens of thousands of miles to attend. to events.
Green Advisor Claire Miller said: “The EICC is actually saying that its core business is not viable, it cannot afford to reinvest in its facilities from its business income, so it must be allowed to operate. develop into new areas. However, the business case shows in the risk register that six risks have increased over the past 18 months, including the most significant risk of falling occupancy and room rates and that’s because that the projections are all based on business as it was, before the pandemic hit. us, international collaboration was possible without flying around the world.
Conservative adviser Andrew Johnston said the business case was not perfect, but the hotel was going to be built anyway. “So why don’t we get involved and maybe influence it to try to make it as carbon-sustainable as possible? “
He said the project would provide the EICC with a sustainable future and allow it to reorganize itself, but also send a signal that the council supports the city’s economy in the future.
The EICC opened in 1995 and has since hosted nearly 1.5 million delegates, over 3,500 events and has generated around £ 720 million for the economy of Edinburgh. In-person lectures returned to the venue last month after Covid.
EICC President George Gordon said the project was an exciting opportunity.
“The EICC Hospitality School is an exciting new model of education, training and development that will bring much-needed professional recruits into the industry following the heavy losses from Covid-19 and Brexit to the labor market.
“It will also secure the long-term future of the EICC, which is internationally renowned and generates much needed congratulations and income for the city.”
Fears the new 400-bed hotel is a ‘white elephant’ for the council